Thursday, May 26, 2016

Opposition in #Uganda faces new threats

Sent by Dr. Vincent Magombe
Foreword: On the purges of those opposed to choosing a Leader of Opposition (LoP) in parliament.
“FDC is on a serious test. It is not a simple matter appointing leader of opposition or not. If this issue is not handled carefully, it can spell doom for the party. In 1980, DP did not understand the ramifications of NRA going to the bush when it is they, DP who had won the election and chose to go and join Obote the rigger. It is that day of 6/2/1981 that marked the end of DP as a dominant party. Therefore, for a party that says it won an election to simply brush off the agitation of its members, when #Besigye is still in jail and go to rub shoulders with the new killers, it may compromise its position and its very existence. I won’t tell you my views on this, but tread carefully. Listen to your people. Don’t just use the killer police to arrest your youth. It is a mistake.”
NEW THREATS ON THE HORIZON – Rabba Naga’s main statement:
The long stay of Mr. Museveni in power has more to do with the failures of the opposition than the strength of Museveni and NRM as a party.
Take for instance the many times NRM has faced schisms, remember PAFO days? Remember what happened when Cerinah Nebanda died? Remember the panic and shambolic responses after Gen Sejjusa left, or when Hon Mbabazi left, etc.? During these breakups, NRM, specifically Museveni, was forced to bring in the army card which is always his last card.
But how does the opposition react to these "schisms"? They allow them to remain as NRM internal bickerings instead of seizing them, not merely as tactical advantages, but as strategic gains for the opposition.
The same opposition did not seem to understand the political value of late Eriya Kategaya when he joined the FDC. He remained on the fringes and ultimately went back, mainly because, I suspect, he lacked any genuine space to operate. Yet Museveni who would never trust him ever again was still willing to give him his deputy premiership, why? To deny the opposition the political gains they didn’t realise.
We now come to the current confusion on whether to appoint a leader of the opposition or not. This, if not handled carefully could seriously weaken FDC. I doubt the opposition parties have sat down to chart out a way forward following the Museveni forceful capture of power or whatever name you want to give it.
Instead parties are plotting against each other, FDC fears not taking up LoP (Leader of Opposition post) will allow DP to undermine them. If DP were a serious party, as it ought to be, why do this? Because an FDC government would definitely be better than the Museveni dictatorship and DP has a bigger chance to take power from FDC than from NRM. So even from a selfish stand, DP ought to support actions of FDC.
So why does FDC require LoP? Not for political value to the country definitely, may be for the 3bn in perks etc.
Perhaps FDC and opposition could gain more staying away considering their numbers. If you are 36 or 37 facing a mob of 330 operating under a muzzle of a gun, like you saw when Mr. Museveni literary took over parliament, like Obote did in 1966, if you cannot even get the reforms you wanted and your numbers keep getting smaller from 80, to 60s now to 30s, due to the way the dictatorship has captured the political space, with arms, why not sit down and get a new way to proceed than thinking it is business as usual, LoP, etc., etc.
Perhaps an FDC with 37 members only may gain more through Defiance than compliance. I suppose that is what Dr Besigye was trying to sell. And he was right. If he wasn’t, it would not have frightened the state to force it to detain him. Which it cannot sustain ultimately.
I don’t want to be presumptive, but I think the opposition need to realise that this is an extraordinary period, which if handled correctly could see the opposition leap forward and if not well, could spell doom.
Defiance has many forms; one is not appointing the LoP. But is this the way the current leadership see things. I don’t know.
It is up to the leaders to pull back and think about those people who have sacrificed their all for freedom.
But the struggle must continue in all forms..

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